Shooting hits close to home for UI

By Daily Illini Staff Report

University students have reached out to those affected by Thursday’s shootings in as many ways as they know – via phone, the Web and thoughts or prayers.

A vigil for the campus and community is scheduled to be held Monday night at 9 p.m. on the north end of the Quad to remember the victims of the attacks and express support for the Northern Illinois community.

The second mass e-mail sent by Chancellor Richard Herman Friday expressed the sorrow students on campus are feeling.

“Our deepest condolences go out to the families of the victims of the tragedy at Northern Illinois University,” Herman wrote. “We are especially saddened that a member of our campus community would commit such a violent and horrific act. We will come together not only to lament the losses that were suffered at Northern, but also to renew our commitment to ensuring an environment where students, faculty and staff can live, learn and work without being threatened by the rage and hostility of others.”

Facebook groups have already begun to develop, gathering thousands of memories and condolences from both friends and complete strangers.

Classes carried on almost as usual Friday for students on the Urbana-Champaign campus. Some students expressed their fears about the possibility of a similar attack happening at the University.

Barbara Alvarez, freshman in LAS, attended her food science health and nutrition lecture in Lincoln Hall though she admitted some nerves.

“I think its scary in Lincoln Hall just because … I think this auditorium seats exactly 800 and that’s how many people I think are exactly in this class,” she said. “So if there was to be a shooter that came in, the people in the middle rows and the middle aisles, they wouldn’t be able to get out because there would be so much trampling. Because this room is so packed it would be complete chaos to get out.”

Students also expressed some fears about shooter Stephen Kazmierczak’s status as a graduate student at the University.

“I think that since the student was a shooter at the U of I, it hits home more, because why did he go up to DeKalb to do that when he could have always just been here?” said Ryan Johnson, a student at the University.

Kathleen Foody and Quentin Capista contributed to this report.